Nurse prac­ti­tioner mak­ing a dif­fer­ence

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

AN in­no­va­tive nurse prac­ti­tion­ers pro­gram aid­ing res­i­dents’ care and well­be­ing at St Cather­ine’s Hos­tel in Wan­garatta won strong en­dorse­ment from Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Aged Care and Indige­nous Health, Ken Wy­att, dur­ing a visit to the fa­cil­ity on Mon­day.

Min­is­ter Wy­att, ac­com­pa­nied by Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) in­spected the pro­gram and the strides the hos­tel is mak­ing re­gard­ing shared de­ci­sion mak­ing and de­men­tia, and the use of tele­health con­sul­ta­tions.

“I want the jour­ney for older Aus­tralians while they’re in res­i­den­tial care to be a good jour­ney,” he said, meet­ing with nurse prac­ti­tioner Steve Voogt, who works at the fa­cil­ity part time and also lends his skills in other cen­tres, in­clud­ing Omeo, Tal­lan­gatta, Nu­murkah and Beech­worth.

Nurse prac­ti­tion­ers are li­censed to prac­tice clin­i­cal care in­clud­ing pre­scrib­ing, re­quest­ing di­ag­nos­tic tests and mak­ing re­fer­rals, and can help make plans to ad­dress the health is­sues of aged care res­i­dents.

Ninety-seven year old res­i­dent and pro­gram client Barbara French, who is re­cov­er­ing from a leg in­jury, told Min­is­ter Wy­att that she ap­pre­ci­ated the “great ser­vice...I couldn’t ask for any­thing more”.

Mr Voogt said nurse prac­ti­tioner pro­grams were rel­a­tively new to. Aus­tralia, but that nurse prac­ti­tion­ers are “a good part of a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary team”.

St Cather­ine’s Hos­tel chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Adrian John­stone de­scribed the min­is­ter’s visit as “an hon­our” and said the pos­i­tive feed­back on St Cather­ine’s con­firms as an or­gan­i­sa­tion it is pro­gress­ing in the right di­rec­tion to meet the chang­ing land­scape of the in­dus­try.

He said the nurse prac­ti­tioner pro­gram had been in place for about four years, with St Cather­ine’s care man­ager Heila Brooks play­ing an es­sen­tial role in its es­tab­lish­ment, and said the ser­vice has con­tin­ued to evolve to meet the chang­ing needs of res­i­dents, with the sup­port of Melbourne based geri­a­tri­cian Michael Mur­ray via tele­health con­sul­ta­tions en­abling good health out­comes.

Ms McGowan con­grat­u­lated St Cather­ine’s for demon­strat­ing suc­cess­ful lo­cal mod­els of aged care.

She ac­knowl­edged the “ex­cep­tional sup­port” nurse prac­ti­tion­ers pro­vide to a heav­ily bur­dened ru­ral GP work­force.

“My in­vi­ta­tion to the min­is­ter was an op­por­tu­nity for the prac­ti­tion­ers to put the case for ac­cess to ad­e­quate Medi­care re­bates and train­ing re­source to meet fu­ture de­mand,” Ms McGowan said.

De­scrib­ing aged care as a growth sec­tor in the re­gion’s econ­omy, Ms McGowan said there were good op­por­tu­ni­ties ahead for ser­vice providers, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of gain­ing fund­ing for the re­gion’s share of the Re­gional Jobs and In­vest­ment Pack­age.

PHOTO: Kylie Wil­son

CON­SUL­TA­TION: Nurse prac­ti­tioner Steve Voogt con­sults with res­i­dent Barbara French about her health is­sues.

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